While a massive Gulf Coast oil disaster rivaling Hurricane Katrina continues to unfold, President Obama decided it was more important to attend an upscale fundraiser in San Francisco hosted by oil tycoons Ann and Gordon Getty. Obama’s itinerary included headlining an event at the Fairmont Hotel, followed by a $17,600 per person VIP dinner for Sen. Barbara Boxer.
Quail eggs, caviar and misplaced priorities
Ironically, one of the delicacies President Obama enjoyed at the upscale Getty dinner was quail eggs topped with caviar. Perhaps the dish was served in memory of the pelican eggs coated in crude oil along Barataria Bay, LA? Nice touch.
According to organizers, the fundraisers for struggling U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) raised $600,000, while the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee raised an additional $1.1 million. All that money should help Sen. Boxer’s campaign, right? Apparently not.
California Republican Party Chair Ron Nehring said of the President’s attempts to save Boxer’s campaign, “We noticed that as of today they have even more to talk about while they’re spending all this time together: according to the latest polling, public support for each of them is in the low 40s.”
Getty Oil, the Gulf Coast and politics
Gordon Getty, host of the Boxer VIP dinner, is the son of oil tycoon J. Paul Getty and heir to the Getty fortune. Interestingly, the Getty family has been criticized for years for allegedly amassing their wealth by exploiting oil under public lands in the United States. According to a TIME/CNN article, Gordon Getty was able to drive up the price of his family’s stock in one year from $500 million to $1.3 billion before selling the oil company to Texaco.
National Republican Senatorial Committee spokeswoman Amber Marchand said of the President’s San Francisco fundraising schedule, “President Obama and Barbara Boxer’s hypocrisy is astonishing. In the wake of this ongoing national crisis, why didn’t the Democrats reschedule his fancy fundraiser with the billionaire oil heirs and allow the President to direct his full attention toward the massive disaster that is plaguing the Gulf Coast?”
Republicans are not the only ones criticizing President Obama for his slow response to the Gulf Coast oil disaster. Democratic analyst Donna Brazile, strategist James Carville and other Democratic leaders have been speaking out publicly against the administration’s failure to act quickly and take leadership of the situation.
President Obama plans to visit to the gulf region Friday, but is it too little, too late? While the marshes of Louisiana continue to be soaked in oil, people from the area are starting to panic. Businesses are shutting down, wildlife is dying and families are wondering how they are going to make it through another disaster.
How about a fundraiser for the Gulf Coast, Mr. President?
S.F. Dishes Presidential Palate, Not Politics, San Francisco Chronicle
Obama in S.F. for Boxer Faces Critics on Spill, San Francisco Chronicle
Texaco and Getty Oil: History’s Biggest Takeover?, TIME/CNN
President Delays Gulf Coast Spill Recovery Efforts For San Francisco Fundraiser With Oil Heirs, NRSC